Let’s get technical!
For many years it has been thought that schooling in South Africa is too academic. There has been little opportunity for those who are not academically inclined to develop skills that would provide opportunities for them in the future. South Africa’s new three-tiered system is ensuring that learners see a return of technical skills learning.
In a country where jobs are always too few, it only makes sense to prepare our youth for a variety of work types. In fact, the Director General at the Department believes that it is was a “scandalous mistake” when the new government of 1994 decided to remove technical schools and reduced technical subjects from 16 to 4. With this new school system, the Department hopes to change everything. So much so, that they expect to have about 60% of pupils completing technical qualifications.
This three-tiered system will see schooling divided into three streams, namely academic, technical vocational and technical occupations. Each learner will be evaluated in terms of their individual strengths and weaknesses, which will be used to channel learners into the stream that best suits them.
The technical occupation stream, alone, will see the introduction of as many as 26 subjects, which include spray-painting, panel-beating, hairdressing, woodwork, glasswork, glazing, welding, upholstery, husbandry (farming) and many more. The technical vocational stream will focus on gearing students to become artisans and master certain trades. This will include, for example, subjects like electrical engineering. The academic stream would be the current matriculation programme.
This all forms part of the National Development Plan goal, which requires the Department to be producing 30 000 artisans every year by 2030. This will mean that not all learners have to remain in school to grade 12, as this would only be requirement for the academic stream. For many, this is a welcome and long-awaited change. We will no longer have to force learners to pursue careers that they have no interest or capability in. What’s more, it has been proven time and time again that you do not need to be an expert academic to run a successful business. The future of South Africa is looking brighter with the promise of upcoming opportunities!